Whitacre Concert - Sweeping Success at Disney Hall
Date: August 13, 2009
Location: California, USA
Choir type: Children's and Youth Choirs
Dear ChoralNet Readers:
On Friday, August 7, 2009 at 8:00 PM, world-renown choral composer, Eric Whitacre, directed a spectacular program at Walt Disney Concert Hall of his latest and most popular works, including the West Coast Premiere of The Stolen Child with text by Irish poet, William Butler Yeats. The concert was performed by the National Youth Choir of Great Britain, with Director Mike Brewer also taking the podium for some of the night.
Prior to the concert, an energetic Whitacre, together with his lyricist, Dr. Charles Anthony Silvestri fielded questions from the audience concerning the creative process in a thoughtful one-hour Q&A session held in Disney's BP Hall from 6:30 to 7:30 PM.
Then at 8:00 PM, an animated Brewer opened the concert with the choir singing a lively fifteenth-century Tourdion, characterized by contrasting tempi with three different speeds throughout. The choir then sang another distinctively English work, excerpts from Vaughan Williams' sacred Mass in G minor. Whitacre then took to the stage to conduct a performance of many of his best known compositions, including his passionate With a Lily in Your Hand, with text by the poet Frederico Garcia Lorca, and his well-known Lux Aurumque, sung in a Latin translation by Silvestri.
Whitacre introduced each piece at the microphone, sharing highly engaging anecdotes, stories, and other intimate details of how each work came to be. Occasionally joining Whitacre on stage was his artistic collaborator, Silvestri, who provided the text to many celebrated Whitacre compositions, including the poetry for Sleep, which the choir appropriately performed at the close of the evening.
A particular highlight of the evening was the West Coast Premiere of The Stolen Child, which mesmerized the audience, as well as the performance of two works commissioned by DCINY, which premiered in New York in June 2009, a subtle the moon is hiding in her hair and a poignant i walked the boulevard, set to text by American Modernist poet, E.E. Cummings. Additional highlights included an enthusiastic response from a full hall by the choir's performance of two works with text by Ogden Nash, Animal Crackers I and II, which was also commissioned by DCINY and premiered in New York this past March 2009; as well as Whitacre's well-loved Cloudburst, with text by poet Octavio Paz, from the classical music chart-topping CD of the same title, featuring piano, handbells, and percussion.
We at DCINY would like to congratulate Maestro Whitacre, Dr. Silvestri, the National Youth Choir of Great Britain, and Director Mike Brewer on their achievement. We look forward to working with them on future collaborations.
Distinguished Concerts International New York